If you want to quickly determine if a white person in the United States is comfortably racist, I’d recommend a single question. Ask them, “Should our nation pay reparations to black people for the enslavement, mistreatment and economic exploitation of them and their ancestors over the past four hundred years?” If they immediately reject this proposition, you can be fairly confident you’ve identified a comfortable racist. On the other hand, if they’re willing to give this question serious consideration, you’ve probably identified an ethically responsible and racially conscious white person.  It’s really that simple.

There is simply no compelling argument against the payment of reparations. The studies and research have been done.  The historians, economists and ethicists have spoken.  While there can and should be considerable debate over how reparations should be made, any white person who argues against reparations is either ignorant, immoral, racist or all of the above.  Additionally, if you encounter someone opposed to paying reparations, you can be fairly certain they will offer one or all of the following three arguments…

“I have no responsibility. Neither I nor my ancestors owned slaves.”

Though I doubt most of these people have the genealogical support for their claim, such evidence would be irrelevant. The economic advantages of slavery were not limited to slave owners.  Though the highest concentration of millionaires in the United States in 1840 was in the Mississippi valley, the wealth created by slavery flowed north to the textile mills, banks and, ultimately, to every white family. Cotton was the single greatest economic driver in early American history. Without the millions of hours of slave labor provided by black people, the American economy would not have thrived.

The affluence generated by this labor, though unevenly divided amongst the white population, was limited to white people.  You didn’t have to be a slave owner to benefit from the enslavement of black people.  You only had to be white.  Indeed, the recognition of this reality fueled the strong southern support for defending slavery during the Civil War.  Though only a quarter of southern whites actually owned slaves, all of them were keenly aware of the benefits they produced.  Indeed, at the time of the Civil War, slaves constituted the single greatest financial asset in the United States.

While it is certainly possible to argue that some white people benefitted more from slavery than others, it is difficult to argue that even the poorest white person has received no benefit. And it is irrefutable that the chief producers of all of this immense wealth – black people – received absolutely no financial benefit from their labor.  More damning, in 1865 when they were freed from legal bondage, they were paid no back wages.  Most black people were left so destitute that they quickly became sharecroppers, which was often even more economically oppressive than slavery.

For these reasons, the huge disparities in accumulated wealth and economic status between white people and black people today have their roots in this historic injustice. Those who argue against reparations because they or their ancestors didn’t own slaves are like people who fill their homes with property they know was stolen from others.  They may not be thieves, but they are hardly examples of responsibility and integrity.  When forced to face this reality, they usually offer this argument.

“That was wrong, but it was long ago. I haven’t directly benefitted from racial injustice.”

Once we’ve established the incredible injustice of the past, we have two choices. If we’re ethical white people, we take responsibility for the injustices of our ancestors.  If we’re immoral and racist, we throw our ancestors under the bus.  We argue for our innocence and blamelessness.  We pretend the oppression of black people ended in 1865.  We ignore the evidence that most white people living today have directly benefitted from racial injustice.

As lucrative as slavery was, our ancestors weren’t the greatest beneficiaries of the oppression of black people. The single greatest economic increase in American wealth was not in the 1800s.  It happened in the years after World War II, between 1950 and 1970.  Billions and billions of dollars of wealth were created.  Indeed, this period marked the high water mark of the American middle class.  A vast majority of this wealth was intentionally limited by governmental policy to white people.

If you are white and bought a home or grew up in a home purchased between 1934 and 1977, you likely benefitted from government programs that awarded millions of tax dollars solely to white people. If you inherited a home purchased during those years, you reaped the spoils of racial injustice.  If you, your parents or grandparents went to college between 1944-1964, you likely benefitted from government programs that excluded black people from millions of dollars in educational grants.  If you, your parents or grandparents have received Social Security benefits, you have likely benefitted from a program that initially excluded up to 65% of all black people. It is difficult to find a single government policy between 1877 – when the Reconstruction ended – and 1977 that didn’t give preferential treatment to white people or exclude black people.

Indeed, most white people today are recipients of one of the greatest governmental affirmative action programs in history. Between 1934 and 1977, billions of tax dollars were funneled exclusively or primarily to white people.  Since any argument for equity would require an equal distribution of this government largesse, we can fairly say that the greatest recipients of racial injustice are not long dead slave owners, but middle class white people today.  When forced to face this reality, those who oppose reparations usually default to more obviously racist rhetoric.

“Well, that wasn’t fair, but what can you do. You can’t just give black people cash.  They’d just waste it.” (Or some other generally disparaging remark about black people.)

Once we’ve established the incredible injustice of the present, we have two choices. If we’re ethical white people, we take responsibility for the injustices of our present system and seek to rectify them.  If we’re immoral and racist, we throw black people under the bus.  In arguing for their inadequacy and incompetency, we verify our ancestry.  Like our forefathers, we justify the oppression of black people with the same paternal racist rhetoric.  We miss the obvious.  Once you’ve acknowledged the resources were stolen, what they do with any compensation is irrelevant.  It’s their money.

How reparations are paid shouldn’t be up to white people. I can’t imagine any court in the land that would leave the terms of compensation up to the thieves.  What we must do as a country is determine an appropriate amount of compensation for the damages done to generations of black people.  That’s going to be expensive.  And it should be.  The debt needs to be paid back with interest.

It is time for white people who are ethically responsible and racially conscious to voice our support for the payment of reparations.  It is time for our nation to finally pay its debts to the black people upon whose backs we’ve built the most prosperous nation in human history.  It is time to ask black people to tell us how they want us to make these payments.  It is far past time.  And when some white people complain of the injustice of it all, we who are ethically responsible and racially conscious must identify that opposition for what it has always been – racist and immoral.

(Special thanks to Ta-Nehesi Coates’ for his essay, “The Case For Reparations,” which should be required reading for every white person in America. My short post is a poor reflection of this masterful essay.)

(This post is part of a three part series.  The second post is entitled “A Reasonable Reparation.”  The third post is entitled “Paying My Reparations.”

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191 thoughts on “How To Tell If A White Person Is Racist With One Simple Question

  1. White mother of a black daughter, unpacking my own white privilege and racism. No doubt reparations should be made. Wonderful reading. Thank you ❤️❤️

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      1. You could not be more wrong. Although freed slaves were supposed to get 40 acres and a mule, they got nothing except Jim Crow laws further enslaving them to live lives of segregation, horrible oppression by the KKK, and death sentences for not moving off of a sidewalk when a white woman was walking on the sidewalk. Get an education!!!

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      2. I believe you are referring to “40 acres and a mule”. That would have been nice at the time, but the newly freedmen were not given anything and many ended up in contractual labor agreements that were basically an extension of slavery. You need to get educated.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, there is a long line of marginalized groups who are due reparations and native Americans should be at the front of the line. I’d prefer something that includes all people of color, but decided in this post to address reparations for black people. This was not intended to suggest others aren’t equally deserving.

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      1. What about someone whose great-great-great grandfather and uncle died fighting against slavery? (Both volunteered after the Emancipation Proclamation). How much is that worth.

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      2. I think that their efforts were admirable. However, they went home after the war and soon – by 1877 – were reaping the benefits of the continued oppression of black people. I wonder if they were as disappointed as I am when I read about the Reconstruction.

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      3. No, they didn’t go home and enjoy anything. One died at Kennisaw Mountain, the other at Nashville . Perhaps the family did, but I’m not sure “white privilege” balances out the loss of two father/providers.

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      4. Again, very sad and I appreciate their sacrifice. Regardless, I would assume that in 1865, if you had a choice, you would have preferred to be one of their children than to being a child of one of those slaves.

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      5. Some Native Americans receive some form of reparations. They have their own free health care and some profit from the casino’s. Black Americans (i.e. African Americans) have never received anything, not even acknowledgement. Many of us are part Native, but we don’t qualify for something that we never knew about. We don’t know what tribes are in our ancestry, most of us, like myself, can only trace our roots back to 4 or 5 generations…shall I go on?

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      1. I didn’t realize that Iris in the U.S. were stolen from Ireland, forced to come to the United States to perform free slave labor against their will, forbidden to have any education, forbidden to marry, forced to procreate with their captors, had their families ripped apart and sold/killed at will, hung from trees and burned as sport and denied being treated as or regarded as humans but as property. I didn’t know there was so much in common!

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      2. Stephanie Goodwin-chi, you should do some research on Irish slaves. They were actually treated worse than black slaves and sold cheaper. They were bread with black slaves so they could sell them for more money. They were treated much worse. Now, they might not have had all the post discrimination, but during slavery times were much worse off. Also, not all slave owners treated their slaves badly, many treated them well. I am not in any way condoning slavery, I agree it was wrong. But I also don’t think you have “white privilege” just because you are white. I have a father that has not been in my life the way most have. I have worked for everything I have. I feel there are a lot of people that blame others for how they are today. ” I didn’t have a father, I grew up in a bad neighborhood,” and so on. If you choose to better yourself and work hard, anyone can be anything that they choose. I know there are still people that choose to hate for many reasons. But as a person, black, white or brown, you need to choose whether or not you will let it hold you down. I do not agree with this article that it automatically makes me racist. I am about as far from a racist as you will meet. I still do not agree with the fact that people need to be handed something just because something happened. There are plenty of very accomplished people that have made it there from a low place and not having money to start with.

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      3. Jared, I am curious, how to you know you “are as far from racist as you will meet?” In your opinion, what demonstrates the lack of racial bias in yourself or another? How have you kept the cultural biases of our society from infecting you? I’m always open to acknowledge another white person is not racist when they can demonstrate this reality. Otherwise, I am generally suspicious of white people who say “I am not racist.” They usually say, “I am not racist, but…” and then say some very racist things.

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      4. So, noone “needs to be handed something just because something happened.”

        First, kidnapping and enslavement for several hundreds of years and many generations is not just “something that happened.” If this needs to be deconstructed and spoonfed to you carefully, then you are frankly too far gone to ever be on the correct side of any justice issue.

        Second, you are against things being handed out presumably without working for it. That is a good general rule. Let’s apply that rule more broadly then. When people are told at the Antique Roadshow that great-uncle’s Confederate union is now worth $15,000 to whomever it was passed down to, let’s insist that money go to a school or the items go to a museum since great niece Whitney didnt work for it…or the coffee table worth $8000 or the house she lives in that was her greatgrand’s. Let’s also make sure to end bailouts for Wall St, because that is a handout they didn’t actually work for; we can add big businesses to that, as well as farms who receive federal help when “something happened” such as global climate change destroying half their harvest.

        Third, exceptions to not make patterns and rules untrue — and most successful Black-Americans are fcking tired of White people holding us up in the air as a way to prove the system works and racism is over. We would need to be one bland, homogenous “race” of widespread mediocrity is every single Black person was still empoverished. But of course people skip right over the congratulations, the acknowledgement of Black excellence and intelligence — and pass directly to “You are proof that anyone and EVERYone can do it.” Nice how no matter what we do, society tries to use it to divide and conquer, while insulting us in every direction. You tend to be clever like that…

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    2. http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/26/politics/american-indian-settlment/index.html Black people are the only racially oppressed group that have yet to see a penny of reparations. Even those who suffered from the Japanese camps in this country got $20,000 per victim….yet not a single attempt to pay reparations for a history of oppression through slavery, chain gangs, medical apartheid, school to prison pipeline, segregation, jim crow, police brutality, etc. has been made. perhaps you should back the fuck off and derail some other conversation.

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      1. Thank you ,..its just daring when many white people have find all forms of others to deny the history of slavery worldwide! is white privilege so fragile that to admit and accept is that heavy a burden! maybe the reparations we have all been looking for is sorry admit and accept,lets start there cause there is no amount of money you all can sum up and pay to bring back ancestors,broken families ,dreams and aspirations! besides the black race was brought there against their will,..the indians you came and slaughtered to take there land when they did not accept your superiority!

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    3. What makes you think that many “Blacks” weren’t Native American? My family is descendant of the original Cherokee people of what is now Maryland. My ancestors were turned away in Ft. Smith, Arkansas as the USG made the natives choose between splitting their tribe and agreeing to be farmers with support from the American Government or staying together but going into these desert regions of Oklahoma with no financial, medical, or educational support from the US Government. It’s a reason why when you see the Dawes Committee pictures–there are always two tents: “Indians” and “Coloreds/Negroes.” Now let me rephrase your question, “What about the Black Native Americans that were captured and enslaved in their own lands.” Mississippi did not become a state until 1817. In 1810, the United States banned the importation of African Slaves to the United States. So where did these “slaves” come from?

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  2. The argument you leave out, which I hear EVERY SINGLE TIME this comes up, is “No black person now living suffered under slavery; why should they get anything?”

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    1. Great point. I hear this as well. I think the arguments for who bears responsibility apply for who has been damaged. There is hardly any black person alive today who isn’t being diminished in some way by both this historic and current inequity.

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      1. Black people were the first to own slaves in America and also there were white slaves. Why would I want to pay someone for something I had nothing to do with and give to someone who also had nothing to do with it. Maybe people should take responsibility for their own life and stop looking for hand outs, sign up for welfare if your still wanting to live off others.

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      2. Michael, the answer to your questions were in the post. Your response suggests you didn’t read it. As to black people being the first to own slaves, that’s simply not true. Did some freed black own slaves? Yes, but they never owned white people. Being unable to understand the substantial difference between your past and present situation and that of a black person seems rather shallow. BTW, the largest group of people on welfare are white people. Connecting black people with welfare is a common racist trope.

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  3. I hope you realize that you are on the extreme end of the spectrum, politically the opposite equivalent of white nationals. You might get some support amongst white liberals because they want to do the right thing, but this will be a case of you winning the battle but losing the war. Understand that this idea is toxic to the average American and as such, the more you push the issue, the more people will start siding with your opposition. Maybe in 50 years there might be the broad changes of attitude necessary to do this, but right now, all you are accomplishing is riling up those who would oppose everything you stand for.
    Another pro tip: Don’t call people “racist”, especially for this flimsy argument, and expect them to ever be on your side. That’s like saying “hey you’re an asshole, want to be my friend.” No, you jerk, I don’t.

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    1. Jason, of course, I realize this is the extreme end of the spectrum. However,your critique is one that we’ve given black people since the Reconstruction. Ironically, it is a catch-22. We’re saying “wait until white people are ready” and then in 50 years we’ll say “that was too long ago.” Before I had a black daughter, I probably would have made your argument. Now it just seems apathetic. Part of moving discourse forward is always the need to push the envelope while realizing the negotiation will be something less than ideal. If we give up the extreme, we usually end up losing the center. As to the racist language, it is far past time we redefine the word racist as something other than white supremacist. Until we do, it will far too easy for white people to define themselves as outside observers. Of course, I realize others think differently. I encourage you to work from the center while I provoke from the extreme.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. While I am certainly no Martin Luther King, Jr, I do take comfort in knowing that he was criticized for the same thing – losing more people than he was gaining. Generally, I find that to be the argument of white people who don’t like their comfortable racism challenged.

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    2. “Very liberal”, your argument is the embodiment of the literal definition of conservative. Incrementalism is what got us to where we are now. Nina Simone performed this in 1965 in protest of the white conservative stance that you are suggesting. Not much has changed! https://youtu.be/ghhaREDM3X8

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    3. “Understand that this idea is toxic to the average American and as such, the more you push the issue, the more people will start siding with your opposition.”….if pushing for reparations is a dealbreaker and pushes people to side with “the opposition”…you never really wanted social justice, you just wanted something that was convenient for all parties involved….aka, you’re racist.

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    4. Yes, and he is very selective about what he allows people to post. I have written twice and have yet to see what I wrote appear. It just says “Your post is awaiting moderation” and that’s the last I’ve seen of it.

      It has to meet what he deems is worthy for the purposes of his discussion. We can pretend we’re arguing the merits but that’s just a facade. This is just a forum to educate self-loathing whites on why they need to make it up to blacks for things they are in no way responsible for!

      Life isn’t fair. We weren’t all born the same. We don’t have the same talents and gifts… We don’t get to pick our parents, our gender, where we are born, what our income level is, etc.

      Should we expect the “haves” to give to the “have nots” because of slavery that existed over a hundred years plus ago?

      How far shoul we go back and why limit the discussion to America? Why stop at a hundred years? If we’re going to hold people who aren’t responsible accountable, let’s just open it up to every injustice by man throughout the ages! After all, time is just a construct of the human imagination.

      Truth be told, more black slaves ended up in the Caribbean and South America than in North America. Why aren’t we discussing slavery there?

      I’m sorry it happened here but my blue collar, working class ancestors who settled in the North had nothing to do with it. Don’t expect me, a second generation American, whose grandfather fled the slavery of communism during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, to want to atone for things my ancestors never did — just because I was born White!

      My ancestry is Scotch-Irish, and equal parts of German and Russian. I like to drink and start fights but I’m too lazy to finish them. Don’t you just hate stereotypes? They’re so oppressive. The reason I wasn’t a straight A student in high school was because of negative stereotypes. Does my being of Scotch-Irish, German and Russian ancestry qualify me as a European Asian American? Maybe that qualifies me for special compensation.

      Over a million Europeans were sold into slavery in Africa. The Irish made up the biggest part of the White Slave Trade. Maybe blacks should be paying me for the suffering they caused my ancestors. Never mind the British. They just rounded up my Irish ancestors whom they deemed inferior and instead of committing genocide decided to profit instead and sold them to African slave traders. It’s the Africans who bought them that I’m angry at! Do you see any parallels?

      I have had double standards used against me my whole life. I don’t like the way blacks look at me… as if I’m responsible for their not applying themselves to education in school and having no future because they got knocked up or knocked someone up, did something stupid, and got thrown in jail.

      Whites are 10X more likely to be violently attacked by Black(s) than they are other Whites. Maybe white victims of black violence ought to be compensated for the physical damage and hospital costs they incurred. Don’t hold your breath thinking that might happen… Maybe Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Oprah, Obama, and the overpaid NFL players who feel like slaves on the plantation ought to show how much they care about blacks by giving them homes, and free stuff out of the abundance they got that originated from the Whites that hired them and support them by going to football games, watching their shows on TV, etc.

      Well I’m writing a book here but if you are white and feeling especially guilty go ahead and donate YOUR money to a worthy black cause… but don’t try to make everyone contribute just so that you can feel better and maybe a little less guilty for things you aren’t guilty of.

      Jus sayin…

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      1. There is no façade here. This blog is called Note To My White Self and very clearly identifies itself as a place for socially conscious white people to discuss their white privilege and racial bias. Allowing minority-loathing white people to comment has a very singular purpose – to allow the target audience for this blog to see what we’re up against. When I debate people like you on this blog, it is to help recovering racists hone their arguments since we – rather than black people – have the obligation to challenge our white peers. When I choose to reject a comment, it is because I see no point in continuing a debate that I had with someone else in the comments. If you don’t like being used for this purpose, I would suggest not commenting.

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      2. I don’t feel guilty. But I know I have experienced privilege due to being white. Skin color, unlike other aspects of a person, is hard to hide, often impossible. So it’s easy to discriminate on that basis.

        My husband was born in KS in the dustbowl. The last of four children. Born at home. Do towels stuffed against the windows to hold the dust at bay. The family, all in one car, with two dogs, tried to move to OR. Slept at the side of the road. The car broke down in ID. They did tenant farming, living in a tent — until a friend with a cigarette… So the farmer let them live in the garage. Eventually, they had their own place.

        Sounds like an exaggeration or joke. That much happening. But true. He got all the hand-me downs. And he felt his absolute poverty, not in a good way. But.. he was smart, went to college, got 3 graduate degrees. Was treated with respect.

        And yet… his own success in the face of the disadvantages does not keep him from recognizing he was privileged — in relationship to any with similar circumstances but also being Black.

        So your story isn’t very convincing. And as far as other people in other countries? We can best address our own. The log in our own eye.

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  4. thank goodness we have DNA testing, so that we can exclude any black people of white descent, as they have of course white privilege. They of course would make reparations as well. Like Ta-Nahesi for example.

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    1. i don’t think we will need to resort to DNA when our society is pretty clear who it categories as black – anyone who looks black. Your remark suggests you think our present systems cares about ancestry and actually benefits black people with white ancestors. I don’t see much evidence of this.

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      1. You mean like people who call people from the Caribbean African Americans just because they have dark skin? The most racist thing possible is to conclude things about people due solely to skin color. You concluding that black people need money and Irish people who were discriminated against, Catholics, LGBT, Atheists, Muslims, etc do not and should be the ones paying suggests you are a racist, sir. I don’t make similar judgements about black people due solely to skin color. Maybe you should learn how to do that.

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      2. Jack, you do realize that I’m making arguments that have been made by people of color for many years. I, as a white man, am simply using my white privilege to help promote what I find to be reasonable arguments by people of color. If I was a black person, would you give my opinion any credence? If so, I suggest you read the linked article at the end of the post. I would interested in your rationale for rejecting the arguments of a person of color. However, in my opinion, white people who pretend to be color blind, are the major reason racism persists. This allows us to act noble while ignoring both past and present injustices.

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      3. I do not have to “look Black” to actually BE Black. And I do not. But if all four grandparents identified as Colored and were marked as “B” on the federal census forms, I’m Black.

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      1. Rape was indeed commonplace during the time of slavery, and was as despicable and repugnant then as it is now. The second part of your comment intrigues me though. Can you cite instances of black women being raped by white law officials? I only ask because I am a fairly avid news junkie and yet cannot recall any such instances being reported, and with the 24 hour news cycle and current tilt of our news networks that would be top of the fold for days.

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      2. And to whom would these victims be comfortable complaining to? LOL, the local police department? There is a long history of Black women (and girls) being raped by white police, security guards, and good ole boys out looking “to have a little bit of fun.” It was the greatest fear of Black girls in the South, especially during Jim Crow. When you devalue a group of people, crimes against them are seen as pranks, poor judgement, and getting carried away. Who is willing to risk further harm by reporting it?

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  5. The race who received the worst treatment ever was the American Indians and are still receiving the same treatment. Black people today have so many opportunities available to them that aren’t even available to the American Indians. But all I hear is bitching about something that happened to their ancestor’s hundreds of years ago. What about all the indentured servants who came to this country? If we read our history books we could come up with many more people that would feel entitled to reparations for one reason or another. Everyone should be looking towards the future as what can we do from this day forward instead of solely focusing on the past. Giving money to the present black race isn’t going to help racism, it’s only going to make them feel more entitled.

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    1. Marie, I’m glad to hear you will be working for reparation for Native Americans or indigenous peoples. (They generally avoid the use of American Indian as an identity.) We all need to ally with some marginalized population and I’m glad you will be working toward justice for Native Americans. However, to do so will require you to look backwards as well as forwards. As for entitlement, I have yet to meet any population in the US with more of a sense of entitlement that we white people.

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      1. I totally agree with several points from your post. White folk definitely have the most obnoxious sense of entitlement of any race I know of anywhere. I also believe the indigenous folk of America should be given money and especially land back that was theirs for centuries. I do however hear the previous comment about many of the indentured servants from other countries. Being of Irish descent many were brought here and treated the same as the African American slaves, maybe a tiny bit better on occasion, but not much. And the abuse of the Chinese in the West. I do not in anyway disagree with repayment, I just don’t understand how we would even begin to do it a fair way. I agree that “looking dark skinned” is a start, but it was many of the slave owners that started whole generations that do not “look” Black/African American. And some have immigrated since slavery ended. Determining how to do it seems to me to be more of the issue than if it should be done. It absolutely should be done for many peoples here in this “great country.” I just worry that many who should get restitution will not and many will not get a truly comparable amount and some will get nothing. So, the how is much more complicated, but if a way can be found that is reasonably fair and just I’m all for it. as long as all that should be included are included.

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      2. All valid concerns. As I’ve mentioned in other responses to comments, the focus of this post was on the justice of reparations and not the mechanisms. I’m working on another post to address that question. It is complicated, but I think there are ways -many of which have been suggested by economists – that such a process could happen. As for opening that process up to others, I’m all for it. Hope you’ll keep reading, thinking and responding.

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      3. Treated like an underclass is not the same as being a thing that people BUY AND SELL. No auction block, slavecatchers, purposely breeding then selling the children away — none of that happened to an groups that came to the U.S. of their own accord (not that I know of.) Enslavement is not simply “very hard work” and getting hated by the status quo. Enslavement began with people sitting/working in their village one day then being stripped, marched, starved, shackled, banned from using the language or ever being free from that day forward. No immigrants went through that.

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      4. Do you know any American Indians? I used to teach history to middle schoolers. One of my coworkers yelled at a student for using the term “American Indian” instead of “Native American.” So I did some research. It turns out, there isn’t much of a consensus on what term is preferred. The most recent actual survey which reported on what term is preferred by native peoples is actually American Indian, and not Native American. But that was from the 90’s.
        Most of the personal testimonials I found stated a preference for being called by their actual tribe name – Cherokee etc. But if referring to all native peoples, they mostly preferred American Indian to Native American. I found the reasons given for this preference particularly interesting. Some people, at least the ones who’s opinions I’m familiar with, see the rebranding as offensive. These people were originally called”Indians” by the first Europeans. All of the worst parts of the oppression they suffered for hundreds of years, they suffered under the identity of “Indian.” They identify with that term. They see the white community’s attempt to rebrand them as “Native Americans” as a way to escape responsibility for what their ancestors have done to them.

        Anyway, just thought that someone as socially conscious as you might like to know.

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      5. All good points. I was raised not to use American Indian, but I am aware that there is division within different tribes and generations about which terms are most appropriate. Indeed, recently, I have even heard some arguing for Indigenous People. Thanks for pointing out the lack of consensus. Like with preferred pronouns, it doesn’t hurt to begin a conversation by asking how someone would like to be addressed.

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      6. It isnt so much a division within tribes. It seems to me the same as African-American vs Black vs the N word. Your politics affect how you identify. So does your regional, your education, the language of your own elders and leaders etc. “Indian Country” news uses several terms, which are all common. When outside a community, I try to use the terms they prefer unless I have a serious, well-informed, socially-conscious belief in opposition to that.

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    2. My family came here as indentured servants. The difference, when we were freed, we fit into society. Those of the Black race that passed, as indeed many Blacks were so inbreed with white masters that it was not uncommon to find slaves that were blue eyed and mistaken for the masters own children (Library at Baltimore did a big study on this)….if you could pass as white, you did well. There is a famous incident in which a Black man moved to my town of Keene NH, and passed as a white doctor. Shocking revelation when he was outed during WWII, when he was called to service and told “oh you are BLACK so you can’t serve with the white doctors.” The town “Forgave” him. As if there was anything to forgive??? He passed so he could GET A JOB….that payed what white doctors were paid.

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    3. wait a second…were you starting your comment by suggesting that natives should get reparations before anyone else? wouldn’t that suggest that you are okay with one group of people “feeling entitled”? don’t even try and compare slavery to indentured servitude….any amount of research will show that there is a MAJOR difference, no comparison whatsoever. and no, black people don’t have more opportunities than natives…and really, the treatments towards both groups cannot be compared, as they were both vastly different situations. one group was dragged here against their will…raped, beaten, hung, forced to work for free, and are still being killed left and right today….but you are calling them entitled. that is the difference. you ooze racism….and many many covert/malignant racists even show sympathy to the natives. look at how many people put themselves out there by protesting in north dakota? but how many people did you see protesting for the flint crisis? or any other systemic injustice towards black people? fuck outta here.

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  6. I thought the question was a good one. My first thought in response was, “I don’t know.” I appreciated the whole article and responses to commenters.

    That said… I do think that figuring out who should pay and who should be paid is complicated. My family history is not one of riches, but I easily accept that I am privileged due to race. My main disadvantage — historically and as a senior citizen — is as a female. There are so many groups that have received advantages and disadvantages that it would be impossible to be totally fair. What about whites people who only recently came to this country? Indigenous people, of course, shouldn’t be paying. Each wave of immigrants and certain religions were discriminated against. Yes — Black people were brought here against their will and enslaved. But what about Black people who came here later?

    There’d need to be all sorts of questions — and testing — to determine who should pay in how much and who should receive varying amounts.

    I worked in HR at one time and one responsibility was Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. Later I did research on the subject. I strongly believe we have not done enough, and what we have tried was often done poorly, purposefully or through ignorance. We should all be doing what we can to promote ways of making up for our selfish and greedy ways, for our lack of compassion and a realization that as each is raised up, we will all be better for it. But that calls for a change of heart amongst so many.

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    1. Judi, thanks for your very thoughtful response. I agree that the how-to of reparations is very complicated. The purpose of this post was to establish the justice of such a request. However, many of the laws that excluded black people and clearly advantaged white people, were intentional and effective. We saw nothing wrong with creating both criteria and mechanisms to assist GIs after World War II. Though we largely excluded blacks, those programs were incredibly effective in creating wealth. So I think the primary obstacle to such efforts is largely one of prejudice and not of possibility. Will any system perfectly address every injustice or include every damaged person? Probably not. But let’s see these challenges as obstacles and not as reasons not to try. As to injustice to women and other marginalized groups. I understand the point, but wonder why so many offer other injustices as reason to ignore an identified one. I would like to see reparations paid to all people of color. I’m working on a new post on the how of reparations. Hope you’ll read and consider.

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      1. I will look forward to hearing more about your ideas. Though I certainly don’t think we have to address all injustices or none, my concern is how to provide reparations as such to one group without hurting another group which has been treated unjustly. Thank you.

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  7. James, I am in complete agreement with your information—so well researched,thank you. No white person (me included) has, can, or will ever be exploited as were the black race. The evils committed 400 years ago, has rendered everybody with dark skin to a diminished position in the USA !!!! Just looking at all the mistreatment of individuals , for ex.: driving while black – I have seen young men pulled over,searched,beaten and yes, shot dead.

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    1. So great to see settlers determining who gets what. It never ends. Native Americans have and had it just as bad as if not worse than Black Peoples. However, I believe in reparation of a financial base. All land belongs to Native Americans on Turtle Island (North America). Native Americans and Black Peoples are uniting more and more. This is important. Pay each of these Peoples back. This will put the world back in balance.

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    2. mind you it was just not in the US,..after the abolition of slavery ,some folks from the south just could not accept and moved to Brasil to set up shop! unfortunately they got a different set of thinking and slaves and did not last long! one of the few enclaves that has american and english names in brasil has its history from slave lords taking advantage of Brasil as it was the last country to abolish slavery!

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  8. I read a right wing website (Blaze) just to educate myself on what the right thinks and was initially shocked to find that the right denies that racism exists and believes that blacks have had every opportunity to “catch up” with whites and it’s their fault for being “behind.” I was born in Hampton,VA in 1955 (my father worked at Langley where the courageous women in Hidden Figures worked) and remember segregation and Jim Crow laws. I keep telling the right-wingers that the Civil Rights Act didn’t pass until 1964, that racism and discrimination did not end over night, and up until that time blacks were subject to dehumanizing Jim Crow laws and blatant discrimination in housing and jobs. I knew that most blacks were unable to benefit from the GI bill after WWII, but it is good to know other specific programs that blacks were excluded from before the Civil Rights Act to explain to these people why blacks remain economically disadvantaged.

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  9. My ancestor were all Galway fishermen, probably busy blowing up Brits. Now perhaps the British might come calling for reparations for my ancestors. Not the attitude I’d prefer the world to have.

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    1. well, yes I see all the horrors that the British suffer even today from the Galway fishermen and their horror. It reminds me much of how the Native Americans in the US still suffer from the mistreatment at the hands of the American Government that broke so many promises and killed so many. Those two situations are EXACTLY ALIKE!

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  10. For any white person to say they “haven’t directly benefitted from racial injustice” is bogus, not just because we had racial injustice with slavery in the past, but also because we still currently have a system that is inherently and systematically designed to put people of color and indigenous people at a disadvantage to whites. What we truly owe, we could never fully pay back in a million years, but yes, we had ought to at least be doing what we can to rectify all the wrongs we have done and still continue to do.

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  11. basically I believe we White people are all racist. I make mistakes. Lots. I like getting called out on them. If I am not called out, how can I change? My daughter moving to Africa, taught me a lot. So much of my racism was based on viewing Africa through the smattering of CNN news and old Tarzan movies. And yes, Blacks in Africa suffer a lot of racism. My own daughter, when taking a class so she could qualify for “Sea safety” (everyone must pass that works on a ship) was in a class of mostly Black men. When it was buddy up for carrying a person, no one would buddy up with her, as they had NEVER TOUCHED A WHITE WOMAN. She was “I’m an AMERICAN!” and grabbed the most shy and was “If the ship is going down, you WILL CARRY ME OFF!” But she said, a nation (not just where she lives) can be mostly Black, and still White people have incredibly privileges. https://yankeeskeptic.com/2017/10/22/i-am-a-racist/

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    1. I love this sentence, “If I am not called out, how can I change?” I completely agree and am always a little mystified by the defensiveness of other white people. Of course, I don’t think my racism makes me an evil person. It simply identifies me as someone who was born and raised with little understanding of my bias and privilege. To have this exposed is not embarrassing. It is enlivening and enlightening.

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    2. White privilege exists in many african countries and in some they just don’t accept that slavery,racism and apartheid has to do with the lost of many african today! If your daughter was in south africa ,i can imagine it was not about never touched a white woman but rather a certain disdain due to the realities of apartheid! if it was francophone or west Africa,that would have easily been a case of machoism and some parts of central Africa a belive that she is not meant to be there! Africa is an interesting continent and glad your perceptions have changed based on your daughter,thats how we learn!

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  12. Thank you for this article. I absolutely think reparations would be just. Trauma affects so many areas in someone’s life, and carries down generations. But as you say, the mechanics of it would be impossible, as paying every single person with enslaved ancestors would bankrupt the country. I think the only way this could be done would be payments to establish things that could help whole communities to overcome some of the side effects of a legacy of oppression- schools, free training centers, etc.- because realistically, this would be the only affordable way to pay something back that would make a difference. Paying a couple hundred bucks isn’t going to be sufficient at all. And Native Americans should get similar restitution. I raised my eyebrows at the earlier suggestion that Native Americans get their land back as reparations. This raises an interesting question. How many people would be willing to turn their homes over to Native American families and vacate the land that belonged to the Native Americans (which is basically most of the country)? And I don’t speak from total lack of understanding. My father, who is still alive, was separated from his family and interned in a men’s labor camp by the Japanese as a 10 year old child in WWII. His home and all his possessions were taken by the Japanese government. He nearly died of starvation and diseases and beatings over the years he was interned, working every day as a slave. He has never gotten to see a cent of reparations from the Japanese government, because the Allied countries signed a peace treaty that made it impossible for individuals to get any individual compensation. And his trauma absolutely affected his life, and the lives of his children. History is brutal to so many people, and I wish everyone with a legacy of pain could be compensated. But logistically, it’s never going to happen. So then what is the next best option? I think it is reparations to a whole marginalized community in the form of investments in things that will give them some help overcoming their lack of privilege.

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    1. Mia, thanks for your thoughtful response. I especially like you willingness to see both individual trauma – as with your father – and the systemic trauma of marginalized groups. For so many, they can’t understand the difference. I agree that reparations are difficult to make, but I often hear people of color suggest that just the admission that they are due has some value.

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  13. I disagree with the premise. My answer would be an instantaneous and resounding: “YES!” But I think I am not alone in being very liberal/progressive *politically,* but not always so much in my day-to-day life. I have many racist thoughts in my head (or perhaps the correct word is discriminatory, judgmental, prejudiced?) and sometimes I’m embarrassed by or feel awkward in situations that involve POC.

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  14. I believe the reparations should be in the form of unequel opportunities that hopefully compound through generations. Some examples would be unequal scholarships, land (and other ) tax benefits for those starting out, free ( or almost) training in certain areas ( financial management), subsidies for new business, etc…and all for a limited time. I’m biased and feel my family of Holocaust survivors might also be entitled to some benefits

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    1. YES! The only way to fight oppression is with oppression! Like putting out a fire with more fire! We need to oppress whites so the rest of the world can be equal. White people should be killed or at least enslaved. See how you like it racists! If you’re white you’re racist. Simple as that.

      When society is free and equal, white men rule everything. Black people need to be propped up because they can’t do it without help!

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      1. I am posting this response to represent many I did not approve. Many, white people arguing how terrible it is that I’ve accused white people of racism, then say things that represent blatant racism.

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  15. Um, it’s not that simple. A whole lot of white folks voted for Obama, thinking that would heal the racial divide; and 8 years later, when that post-racial America didn’t materialize, put their trust in Trump!! As such, I have my suspicions about reparations; particularly, when my people have no industries in which to invest this money; have lost the will to work collectively to build capital; and are gravely ‘matertialistic’!! In light of these dysfunctions, reparation will give America the excuse to wipe their hands of their ‘black problem’, and walk away, seeing no need to divest themselves of their ‘White Privilege’, heal themselves of their racism, and refute their ‘White Supremacy’, if we fail to capitalize on this so-call largesse!! Our failure to establish economic parity would give them adequate reasons to say, “I told you so”, and permission to continue their racial hegemony of the world!!! Adam Clayton Powell’s “Keep the Faith” was not just a exhortation for us to believe in ‘The Struggle’; but to believe in ourselves, that we are ready to seize the day, take control of our destiny, without any handouts from our oppressors, whom our trust in their presumed ‘humanity’ got us into this hellish, existential existence, in the first place!!!

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    1. Fair point. i think reparations as a one time cash payment would probably result in exactly what you describe. However, I think many have suggested other approaches. I am working on a follow-up post examining this question.

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  16. After FDR (a progressive idol, and thought to be one of the top three presidents who ever lives among democrats and even republicans) put 120,000 Americans in internment camps, which president gave reparations to those Japanese citizens?

    *cough* Reagan *cough*

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    1. Fair question. My family has committed to making a significant monetary gift each month to an organization led by and organized to address issues for people of color. I think if more white people made such a commitment both the conversation would be furthered while actual tangible benefit occurred.

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  17. Interesting article. I would suggest this. Before you, as a white person, begin to speak for all black people, maybe you should check out the Facebook Page I read this from and ask them their opinion. There is not a doubt in my mind that there are black people that would gladly accept reparations, but I do know there are many that would be insulted by them as well. The FB group I read this from is called Common Sense Black Conservatives. Maybe you should give it a look.

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    1. Thanks. I will check them out. I’m not suggesting I can speak for any person of color. However, nothing I have argued is original with me. These are arguments made by people of color both today and in the past. Since no group is monolithic, I realize not every person of color would see reparations as a solution, though how those reparations were devised might shift the conversation. However, regardless of the opinion of diverse groups of black people, I would think most would not suggest – as many white people have in response to this post – that injustice did not and does not exist.

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  18. Total bullshit! The reparations are the sacrifices made by every Union soldier fighting in the Civil War! No person living today was ever a slave, nor a slave owner. Stop trying to create a further divide between the races, and instead concern yourself with working toward getting everyone to work together as Americans. No, this country is not perfect, but it’s still the best place in the world for anyone to make something of themselves. If you think there is any other country in the world where black people have better opportunities and are treated with more respect, then you have never been outside of this country and seen how people are treated.

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  19. Sad but you do not know your history. The people were given two choices by the government. 1. They could return back to Africa for free 2. They have one acre of land and a mule. This was free by the government for payment. So, the debt has already been paid.

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  20. Reminds me of this conversation between Jordan Peterson and Bret Weinstein on Joe Rogan’s podcast.

    Essentially, Hitler was rational enough to limit gains and resources to one group of people, his group of people. That’s a rational effort.

    Slavery was also a very rational effort. The racism it deployed and made worse is part of our human DNA. We’re tribalistic shitlords sometimes.

    It’s the same question here in Canada with repairing the damage done to First Nations and Aboriginal communities. It was most definitely the fault of white governments two hundred years ago, but whose legacy is difficult for most people to comprehend because no one is immortal and can live to see through all of that. Just not humanly possible.

    Think of it this way, grab one of those homeless people on the street, one that’s not even addicted, and try rehabilitating them. Good clothing and manners, shelter as a base of operations, financial acumen and enough sense to figure out their lives the rest of the way. How much would that cost?

    Now add in addiction issues and times that by thousands and tens of thousands. Whole communities of damaged people who have been disadvantaged by generations of racist legacy.

    We already cannot comprehend *how* damaged, but we certainly on an individual basis know we individually are not responsible for that legacy or the attitudes or policies that initiated it.

    But there is rational basis for repairing what’s broken, just as there was a rational basis for concentrating resources and employing racism to enforce it.

    Because of this I’m sympathetic to the idea of repairing communities, but have no illusions about how expensive that is, or how fucking difficult it’d be to convince people who are, and this is true, mortal and oftentimes ignorant.

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    1. Mark,

      Thanks for stating the difficulties of actually making reparations. I agree. What I find discouraging is how many people seem to have no sympathy for these damaged persons and communities. I’m working on a follow-up post about the hows of reparations. I hope you’ll read and respond.

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  21. Somehow you would have to search out any black people who immigrated to the United States from Africa after slavery was abolished, along with their ancestors. They certainly would not be due any reparations, and should defiantly have to pay,seeing as how their ancestors helped capture and sell these people to the slave traders.when I was younger I took a test to apply for a job with the post office. I was told that black applicants would be graded with a ten point bonus, to me that is already some repatriation.

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  22. Because of the sheer volume of comments, I have been unable to review or respond to every comment. I have eliminated the many that were profanity laced or blatantly racist. I have also eliminated those which made arguments already offered and addressed in this thread. However, based on the ugliness of some of the responses, all comments will require approval.

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  23. All I see is a “Gimme mo’ free money”.. scheme.. NO money should be given to anyone personal just because of the level of melanin in the skin. IF and only IF money has to be payed, it should be only going to communities and neighbourhoods that show being behind economically due to joblessness, or having high crime rates due to the ethnical make up. In any way no direct money to people because they identify as african american and/or score higher than 40% on a skin-colour intensity test.. That would be fucking racist and isn’t racism just that what we want to fight? Remember there are many white people that are just as poor as these blacks and who need money more then the successful people like the millionaires children that lead #BlackLivesMatter.. If money goes to those people too, it is evidence of just being money scheme using racism and slavery as a stick to beat/guilt people into becoming a free cash machine….. And that is good for no one, especially the black community themselves.
    But still somewhere I cannot get rid of the feeling this is just that a get rich quick scheme based on guilt

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    1. You are probably correct that cash would not be the best way to pay reparations. However, I would hardly call reparations a “get rich” scheme when the economic status of so many black families is so far behind that of white families. How about a “get average” scheme?

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    2. Gimme mo’ free money”.. scheme.. Errrrr…… No!!!!. Enslaving African People for hundreds of years of hard labour is a Gimme mo’ free money”.. scheme. Now people are simply asking for a legitimate share of the economic advantage that was created on the backs of enslaved african people.

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  24. All inequalities are based off of some historical pressing of advantage. As all minority groups have suffered to some degree, and unequally, from disadvantage, and majority groups have also had significantly unequal benefit from historical advantages. It seems that the only way to do reparations correctly is to establish a blanket redistributive system along an extreme socialist line, Otherwise, poorer and working class white people will always oppose this, because the rich exploitative class will find loopholes and working whites will get stuck with the whole bill, or at least that is what people will fear. I don’t mean this facetiously as some sort of conservative taunt like “why don’t you just go communist?”, but actually why don’t you advocate for full wealth equality? It’s the only way that reparations would ever be fair or find broad consensus.

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    1. I think this is a very fair criticism and addresses those who bring up other groups that have been oppressed. I think you are correct in suggesting that the best system of reparations would be broadly applied. However, as I will be writing in my next post, there is precedent for addressing specific groups that have received wide approval.

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  25. One way reparations can begin is with the Black ppl/families that were affected after slavery… Once the KKK formed. Theres an entire list of everyone Lynched, and all the government (the Senate) did was acknowledge the wrongdoing and apologize.
    There were whole communities bombed or destroyed by white mobs (why we have the term “race riot”), with families having to flee and ppl getting murdered. Some of those people are still alive!
    Theres the Tuskegee Experiment that the government did on 400 black men in Tuskegee AL, giving them Syphilis just to see what would happen. There was an apology from Pres. Clinton and the BioEthics Center was built on Tuskegee University’s campus. (I attended).

    We start with the living. After that, reparations need to go into communities, schools and housing. The projects (ghettos) were on purpose. Redlining….

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  26. You have more or less successfully refuted a bunch of arguments against reparations, that you have came up with. Too bad, they are all pretty stupid (as in “easy to refute”). That’s the usual problem with arguing with yourself: the arguments you imagine the opposing side to offer, are usually laughable. It’s a nice exercise in a “straw man” argumentation, but nothing more than that.

    The real argument against reparations, that you failed to see is that two wrongs do not make a right. Slavery was morally wrong. But so is forcibly taking somebody else’s money away to further your own goals, however noble they might be in your opinion.

    You cannot correct one injustice by committing another, the world does not work that way.

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    1. Of course, your argument makes the whole idea of justice ridiculous. Punishment and reparations are a component of justice. By your argument, putting someone into prison isn’t justice. Afterall, how can taking away someone’s freedom – a wrong – be defensible. If you argue slavery was a moral wrong, then you must seriously consider how those who perpetuated those crimes should be punished.

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      1. No, justice isn’t ridiculous. Not in part, that is about deterrence.
        The “getting even” sentiment, “an eye for eye” and other bull***t like that is indeed ridiculous.

        As to “those who perpetuated those crimes” (slavery), they have all been dead for a long time, so, it is a little late to punish them now.

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      2. Dmitry,
        Did you actually read my post? I was clear that the damage to blacks didn’t end in 1865. One of the greatest acts of theft from black people actually occurred between 1937 and 1977. There are countless white people walking around who have participated consciously or through apathy in the oppression of people of color. If we really want to deter this kind of behavior, we must punish it. If not, it will continue.

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      3. If you are going to equate not being able to sit in the front of the bus with slavery, and call it “the graeatest theft …”, then I don’t really think we have enough shared moral values to be able to ever arrive at some sort of common ground. I do hope that you are simply being a bit dishonest for the sake of rhetorical exercise.

        To your point. I am not sure who the people are you are referring to. But, if you can find one or two, who are indeed guilty, and demonstrate evidence of concrete crime they have committed, you should be able to bring a law suit, and bring them to justice. It should not be hard if there are really “countless” of them.

        That would certainly be an a lot more justifiable course of action than calling for reparations for slavery, (and then swapping the topic mid-air for something seemingly easier to defend).

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      4. Dmitry, I suggest you read the book “The Color of Law” This book details a long list of intentional laws, banking policies, realtor guidelines, etc. that made it incredibly difficult for people of color to own homes or start businesses. The people who enacted and benefited from these actions are mostly alive today. If not, their children are reaping the spoils of that abuse.

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    2. James, this is a different topic all together.
      Enacting laws is not a crime. There are some laws that make things harder to do for me and my kids, than it is for black people or other groups … We live in a democracy, and, if you do not like existing laws, there is a democratic process for changing them.
      Just because you don’t like some law doesn’t mean you need to get paid a compensation with someone else’s money.

      Once again, I am NOT against reparations. If you think reparations are due, I urge you (and everyone else advocating for them) to pay what you think is fair now.

      You know, there is this story about how they cut income tax in Massachusetts. It used to be 5.85%, and then there was a big campaign to get it down to 5.2%. They wanted to put a question on the ballot, and there was a HUGE opposition to it. It passed eventually by an extremely narrow margin, like less than 51%. HALF of the people in MA wanted the tax to be higher. So, since then, there is a special checkbox on MA tax form. You can voluntarily continue paying the 5.85% rate if you feel this is the right amount.
      So, can you guess approximately how many people check that box on their tax forms? About a thousand.
      Get it? Close to 3 million people wanted a higher tax rate, but only a thousand of them are willing to pay it voluntarily.

      You see, it is easy to be righteous and fight for justice as long as you are doing it on someone else’s dime …

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      1. Also, if “a long list of intentional laws”, described in some book is hardly an argument. I am talking with you, not with a book. If you want to discuss (the intent or effect of) a particular law, describe it to me, and i’ll be happy to consider it.

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      2. I completely agree with this critique. My family makes a “reparations” donation every month to some organization working for and with people of color. I think progressives who argue for reparations, but don’t make such efforts are part of the problem. However, I also believe in organizing as many white people as possible to advocate for a governmental response.

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      3. I am interested in discussing it with you. I am NOT interested in reading this particular book or book reviews, not in the context of this discussion anyway.
        If you would like to discuss a particular point from that book with me, just summarize it in your own words, otherwise, there is not much point in mentioning it. Even if I do read it, chances are, I will have a different view at at least some of the things it says than you do … but we won’t be able to discuss it, because you haven’t described your view to me yet. (I mean, your view at the particular points from that book, not your view on the racism issue in general :)).

        Back to the reparations, I am with you , as long as you are talking about voluntary contributions. Call it “reparations” or “donations”, or, even, “scholarships” – that doesn’t matter. As for the “governmental response” – that’s just a fancy euphemism for “theft”. And you cannot “fix” an injustice with theft, it will only make things worse. Look what “affirmative action” got us …

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      4. Trying to keep up with multiple conversations makes it impossible for me to do what you ask. That being said, I hope you’ll read about the book. As to your use of the word “theft,” I assume – to be consistent – you think government programs that benefit veterans are thievery as well. As to what affirmative action got us – I would argue it got us more people of color in positions of prestige, power and influence. That is what I call a success story.

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      5. James, I am just curious, have you deleted my last answer to you, or was it a network glitch?
        I mean, I don’t particularly care about conversing with someone, who only wants to respond to convenient remarks, and suppress all others, so, if that’s’ the case so be it, I won’t bother you again.

        Just making sure in case, this was just an accident … I could repeat what I said before if you wanted to hear it

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      6. Dmitry,
        I’m getting hundreds of comments on the blog. I have to approve them or there would be a lot of ugliness. I approve balanced and thoughtful responses like yours. That being said, it is very hard for me to keep up. I’m sure some of your remarks are falling through the cracks. An imperfect system, but I also don’t want my blog to become a place for white supremacists to post profanity laced calls for lynchings.

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      7. Hmmm … I see my posts when I post them (saying “awaiting moderation”), and then they disappear (I see another one from yesterday is gone now) after a while … Hard to imagine how this can be attributed to “falling through the cracks”, seems very much like a deliberate action.
        But I am willing to give you a benefit of a doubt, simply because I can’t imagine any possible reason for you to lie about it (I mean, if you didn’t want to see my posts, the easiest way to make me go would be to simply tell me to f* off, trying to appease me by lying about have my posts removed seems counterproductive :)).

        So, fine, I’ll repeat.

        Re. helping veterans, it depends on what programs you have in mind. Some of them are indeed thievery, most are NOT, they are simply a payment to the veterans for the service they have done to the People.

        The Affirmative Action did indeed “get us more people [of color](this is irrelevant) in positions of prestige, power and influence” that are INCOMPETENT, as in, would never be able to get into those positions in a fair competition. Besides the two obvious problem with this (putting incompetent people in positions of power, while pissing off the competent ones, and increasing racial tensions), the whole idea of treating people of different colors differently is exactly the issue this was intended to resolve.

        I you call THAT “a win”, then I don’t know what you could possibly consider “a loss”.

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      8. Dmitry, you seem like a thoughtful guy and I appreciate your generally civil posts. This blog is a pastime and not my full time job. I wish I had time to respond fully to all your remarks, but I don’t. I think I’ve given your responses serious consideration, but we obviously don’t agree. I need to move on to new blogs and new comments.

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      9. Dmitry. I was in Human Resources management. During that time and others I was aware both of times when a person was hired or kept, supposedly due to AA, when they should not have been. Poorly done because managers didn’t know what they were doing and simply messed up. Guess what? They do that with white males also. Some of those are hired and kept even though they weren’t really qualified and didn’t do the job well.

        But I also saw discrimination, and strong efforts to avoid hiring people… not like the rest of them. And in research, learned the application of AA often was so poor as to result in those persons not having the success they could have had. You can always come up with examples. But they are not definitive.

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      10. Judy,

        “They do it with white men also” – yes, they do. But. When they do it with white men, it’s their own (stupid) decision, but when they do it with black people, it’s what our government in its infinite wisdom tells them to do.
        That, and also, I’ll say it again: two wrongs do not make a right. “Tu quoque” isn’t a real argument, it’s a fallacy.

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      11. Judy, also, in Re. “But I also saw discrimination, and strong efforts to avoid hiring people”.
        Would you really want to work for a boss, that *hates your guts*, and was forced to hire you? Do you not find it *degrading* and *humiliating* in the first place, that the government thinks that the only way you could land a good job is when people are forced to hire you?
        And finally, are you ready to get “the look”, that people give you every time, they see a black person in a good position, and immediately wonder whether that’s an “AA benefitiary” or a real deal? You say that’s racist? I agree. That’s the whole point: the result of AA is MORE racism.

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      12. Dmitry, this argument against affirmative action is really odd. According to your logic, only white men can hold any position without being suspect. People of color, women, the disabled, etc, are all suspect. The problem isn’t with the people being hired; it is with the racist, misogynist people in power and position. AA does not result in more racism. It simply exposes the racism that already exists. Fortunately, many people of color, women, disabled have successfully passed through the gauntlet of white male insecurity, racism and sexism to prove they deserve their success. Here is the real truth. Most of them had to work twice as hard to prove themselves than a white man.

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      13. James, exactly!
        They are all suspect, BECAUSE OF AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.
        If AA did not exist, there would be no reason to suspect, that a person I am talking to at work is clueless just because he is black. The only people, who’d suspect that are racists.
        But BECAUSE OF AA, there is now an _actual reason_ to ask the question: was this person hired because of his skills, or because of his color? This is one of the horrible effects that AA had caused.

        It certainly DOES result in more racism (via the mechanism I described above), but even if you were correct, that it “simply exposes the racism that already exists”, that would still be bad: racist doesn’t really harm anyone, until his racism is “exposed”.

        The “many people of color …” have indeed “successfully passed through the gauntlet of white male insecurity, racism and sexism to prove they deserve their success.” But the effect of AA is that discounts (if not completely invalidates) this “proof”. Because it exists, there is no way to tell for sure whether the success of a particular person is actually deserved, or whether it is just “given” to them as a result of AA.

        That’s the point: AA actually HURTS blacks and others way more than it helps them. It diminishes their self-worth, and takes away their pride and their claim to their own achievements.

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      14. “Racism doesn’t really harm anyone, until it is exposed.” Seriously? I hope you aren’t an oncologist. Can you imagine if a doctor told you cancer doesn’t really hurt you until we actually diagnosis it?

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      15. And this: “Most of them had to work twice as hard to prove themselves than a white man.” is not “real truth” at all. It’s just a baseless and unsubstantiated generalization The same kind of a generalization that is at the root of any racist statement you have ever heard in your life.
        “Most blacks are twice as likely to commit murder than a white man” … How does that sound to you?

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      16. Dmitry, you are the one who has been arguing, that because of AA, they have a much harder time. Now you’re saying they don’t have hard time. I will say this. You have pretty much convinced me – once again – that white men continue to be the primary source of our lack of progress on racial reconciliation and justice.

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      17. James, that’s just a false analogy. Cancer and racism may have some features in common, but they are two different things nevertheless. And in this particular aspect, they differ significantly:
        cancer does hurt you when it is undiagnosed, racism only hurts you, when you know about it.

        I wasn’t arguing they were having a hard time (as in having to work harder) because of AA, not sure where you got that from. What I said was, that AA hurt them, as well as the society in general in several different ways.

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      18. Dmitry, it is a good analogy. The idea that racism doesn’t hurt you unless you know about it is absurd. If I don’t get a job because I’m a person of color, I may never know that it was because of racism, but I still had the harm of not getting the job. This can be repeated in countless ways. Indeed, when I talk with people of color, they tell me that it isn’t the racist jokes or slurs that they most fear. It is all the hidden racism that may impact their lives from white people who smile the whole time they are harming them. Racism is very much like a cancer in our society. BTW, I have a work deadline and weekend obligation and won’t be able to mediate comments. I’m out until Monday.

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      19. James,

        It may be a “good” analogy, but still a false one 🙂
        Calling your opponent’s ideas “absurd” on the other hand, isn’t a good argument at all 🙂

        If you don’t get a job, it DOES NOT MATTER why you did not get it. Maybe, the boss does not like how you smell, or maybe he wants to hire someone younger .. .or just prettier than you. It is ultimately his decision, and a company, that makes hiring decisions based on features like that rather than on the professional qualities of the candidate, isn’t going to stay in business for long anyway. The bottom line is – if you don’t get a job, it serves no purpose to dwell on a particular reason. Just move on.
        Think about it. Would you actually WANT to work for a racist? Are you THAT desperate?

        I don’t really mind you taking a long time to mediate comments. Everyone has life outside the computer screen. 🙂
        It’s when my comments disappear without a trace all of a sudden (it happened a few times here), that concerns me. I mean, I don’t want to be a nuisance, and, if I I am not welcome here, you can just tell me that, and I’ll go away. I don’t post thoughtless remarks, things I say take time and effort to think through, and express in a clear, and structured way (even if they look “absurd” to you), and I find it offensive, when they just disappear without so much as a “f** off” as an explanation.

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      20. I don’t think black people WANT to work for a racist, but they have had to for centuries. And, yes, many of them have been desperate for any work. Again, it is absurd to think racism does not harm unless it is exposed. I can’t see how any thoughtful person could make that argument. By this argument, embezzlement, child molestation, pollution, and a long list of other hidden acts don’t do any harm unless they are exposed. Racism is ALWAYS harmful.

        As to my approval process for comments, I have chosen not to approve one of your comments on occasion. I reserve that right. And I don’t have time to justify every rejection. Generally, I find your comments thoughtful. However, it is my blog.

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      21. “Have had to for centuries” – yes, they have. But they don’t’ have to anymore.
        What happened in the past has no bearing on our current topic of the harm caused by AA, and/or whether or not it is important to know whether you were rejected because of your color or because of your smell.

        I know it is your blog, and it is your prerogative to choose who to talk with. What I am saying is IF you choose to talk with me, please talk with _ALL_ of me, not just specific parts, that you happen to like more than the others. I stand behind every statement I make. If you think some of them are inappropriate, you should ban me altogether, because they are reflection of me as much as the other comments, that you find “thoughtful”.

        Liked by 1 person

      22. I, like James, don’t have unlimited time, so for now a reaction to you outside of your substantive comments: Being respectful, having seen that James is moderating this on his own, unlike FB or a news organization, I’ve actually chosen not to respond every time I thought about it. And when I did, I did so with the clear understanding my comment might not show up. Perhaps this comment to you doesn’t seem helpful. But I’m offering it as something you might consider. His moderating is not “personal” and you’ve gotten lots of air time as it is.

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      23. Judy, I don’t care for the “air time”. The problem is NOT my not getting enough of it, it’s with the _selectivity_. All of my comments speak to the SAME point. If some of them a deemed inappropriate by some standard, then all of them should (and I’d be fine with that). Otherwise, it just seems pointless to try getting a point across, when you don’t know which of your remarks will be heard.

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      24. Dmitry, I can’t promise approval on all comments, but I recognize the validity of your point. I’ll try to examine my bias. After all, that is exactly what I’m asking of you.

        Of course, since you don’t know if my rejection of your comment is from genuine disregard, apathy, or neglect, – based on your arguments – is there really any harm? Just move on with your life. Assume your comment wasn’t good enough for approval. Tongue in cheek, but I hope you see the irony.

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    3. James, I do see the “irony”, but it is in vain.
      There is indeed absolutely no harm to me. It just makes me question the rationale of continuing the discussion (just like it would make me question the rationale of seeking employment from a boss, that seems to hate my guts).

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  27. So the people who are for paying this “outstanding debt” how much should be paid? How do you measure suffering? Should we just accumulate all the black people that suffered in one genealogical line and give the whole family cash for the rest of their lives? Should white people feel guilt just because of something my great-great-great grandfather might have done all those years ago when it was considered socially acceptable to be racist. I myself see slavery as an abhorrent thing, but will throwing money at a problem make it go away? Look at the wars fought in the last two decades over seas, throwing money and land at things won’t change anything socially. Black people will still look at white people with mistrust and blatant racism due to years of pent up anger, you think it will just go away? Has there been unfair treatment? Of course, has there racial violence? Undeniable, but I would like to hear an exact plan on how you are to determine who gets what and how because until then its all talk and cant be done. I eagerly await a response, debate Is always fun.

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  28. And when will the descendants of the African chiefs who sold their people to white men pay reparations, hm? And when will Roman descendants pay reparations to the descendants of Gaul, Brittania, and Germanic? That you think there is even one legitimate argument in favor of reparations betrays you as an intellectually defunct, virtue signaling guilty white person.

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    1. I suspect all of those groups, in their time, thought reparations justified. Certainly, we cannot go back and redress every oppression. This does not logically means reparations are illegitimate. I do think we can still address the 400 years of oppression of people of color in the USA. Since there are countless arguments for the legitimacy of reparations, including one for the Japanese that was affirmed by the Supreme Court, I’m happy to stand with all of those intellectually defunct, virtue signaling, guilty white people.

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  29. I think reparation should be paid. And after it’s paid not one more generation should complain about getting reparations from the US government again. But people will, because in 100 years people then will feel since they did not have benefit of spending that monies themselves, they should be able to get more.

    After researching statistics, from many reputable websites, and only using the amount of standard pay of the time to white workers and interest at average of 6% for the years of slavery after the revolutionary war until now, as I do not feel the United States as a government is responsible for reparations prior to the country even existing, during a time when it was owned by a foreign country. By my estimate would be approximately $85,000 per person of color in the United States. You have to provide this pay to every person of color in the United States as it’s very possible that they had ancestors that were taken as slaves which harmed the family in their country having to do without a family member to take care of or support them.

    My concern at this point is there would be taxes due on this large amount of money. This money is considered recovery of wages and interest which would’ve been taxable at the time it was earned. With this large amount (Number of individuals per household) being paid to each family it would put them in a very high tax bracket and the government would take probably a third of the money back in taxes. This would also immediately drop every black family receiving welfare and benefits from receiving that money and health care coverage that they receive free.

    For a family of five receiving a ck for 425,000 and paying 140,250 in taxes. This Would be a great stepping stone wouldnt it? Unless you are of the belief that, that family will be impoverished within two years again. So then the question is who are you to decide if they can handle their money or not. The government that is made up of white racists are the ones you would put in charge of managing these individuals money? This makes no sense.

    If you feel reparations are due but should not be paid in cash to the harmed individuals, from a legal stand point this makes no sense either. As you said this should be a punishment to deter. Punishment to individuals for the actions of their ancestors, not all white people are guilty of participation? Or is this about punishment for individuals that you feel should be punished?

    Everyone has an agenda.

    But now this is getting into the weeds.

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    1. Very thoughtful response. I think you’ve pointed out many of the difficulties in the “how” of reparations. I’m hoping to post my suggestions today. I think you point that reparations as a deterrent to future oppression probably is wishful thinking. I do think reparations as a cash payment is tricky. I’d prefer cash payments to people where a specific and clear injury can be documented and a broader response to people of color in general.

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  30. In 78 I went to 3 interviews at a large chemical plant. All 3 times I was told that I was very well qualified for the job but they COULD NOT HIRE ME BECAUSE I WAS WHITE. Affirmative Action. Called the EEOC and they said it was perfectly legal. And when I have told some younger minorities at work that story they do not believe me, say they have been told that is a lie. So I say there are some who are lying to their minority youngsters to keep racism going on the minority side, which it does exist widely even though some try to deny racism within minority groups. There is your reparations. Better job than I ever had, better benefits than I ever had, better retirement than I will ever get. There is your reparations.. Affirmative Action.

    But I will make this deal.. If you can prove you are a legal downline of a slave in the USA. If you will sell all your goods here in the evil USA, as you board a means of transportation to a country in Africa, you will leave the USA, surrender your USA citizenship, you will receive a $1,000,000 per person certified check from the USA taxpayer, keep all monies you earned in the USA tax free, never to return to the evil USA for any reason because it is just too evil..
    I AM ALL IN.

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      1. I lived in NM for a while, NW corner, Navajo country. I worked with several of them. 1973. Those that were willing to work the oilfield, plant work I worked around were not complaining about what the white men developed. Lots of open land for them to live on with very good paying jobs, medical, schools. They did complain about those that got the government check and walked around drunk all time.
        I’m not complaining about where I live. the ones in this article are, demanding money from me on something I didn’t do……. even though I went through the things I went through. I just had to work around it even though it was not my fault for the stuff somebody else did.
        They are complaining, about a much better place than they would be at if they are a slave descendant. Not perfect. But there are only so many 50% of fairness to go around.
        We have made great strides in my 66 years, I have seen the double standards and I am the generation who has worked to fix it, and has been spit at for doing it, denied jobs, told get to the back of the bus. There is racism in all races, I have seen it and they have too.
        I’m all for equality, those who are best for the job gets it, but that is not happening, Affirmative Action has seen to that along with college entrance, advancement, etc. If you haven’t seen it you must live in a shell.
        Like a young Hispanic guy I was working with, he was 24 and I was in my 50’s. He was talking to me about stuff cause he knew I would talk about anything, don’t care. He said Ron I don’t know why but I feel like because I am Mexican I feel like I don’t get treated the same. I asked him didn’t he go to the same schools, same test, same food, etc. Same college.
        HE said yes.
        I said you are driving better cars than I have, you have the same job at 24 that I didn’t get until I was 40 and at the age you are I was told I couldn’t get it because I was white, did they tell you that ever..
        he said no, I just feel that way.
        Some body keeps telling that smart young guy that, and that is not fair to HIM or other minorities. They need to raise their heads high on what their forefathers created for them, not always find a way to get them down feeling oppressed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ron, I wish, instead of explaining his good fortune to your Hispanic friend, you had simply asked him to share his experiences. People of color have been told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps by white people since 1865. Of course, too often, those same people don’t notice that those same people can’t afford boots.

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    1. Hey Ronald. Is not 1978 anymore, so its it time to move on from those interviews. Affirmative action helps more WHITE women than it does Black ppl. Why? Because they are minorities too!
      So maybe it was Black centered/focused in 1961 when it began, but its not. But also believe it or not, there are qualified Black ppl and college educated black ppl that are better qualified than you. Affirmative action just makes sure White ignorant ppl dont only hire only white ppl.

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  31. You automatically designate the quite valid reply of “My family was not even in this country during slavery” (and yes, I am paraphrasing here) as proof that the person giving it is racist. And yet, it is a valid reply. In my case, my father’s family immigrated to the US in 1904, and my mother’s family in 1912. It seems you are using the logic that since whites benefited from the products of slavery, even whites who were not in the US during slavery (and by extension their progeny) are still culpable for the heinous and atrocious treatment of people that were likely dead before said whites were even born. If we accept that line of rationale and proceed on it’s premise, I would have to counter-argue that any black Africans (or other “races” of people) who sold slaves are equally culpable and their progeny must also be forced to pay reparations. Hence, the people of the countries of Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Angola, Congo, Nigeria and Cameroon (among others) must be forced to pay reparations for selling their own people into slavery, even though those countries, for the most part, did not exist at the time of slavery in the US. Following your reasoning, genealogical responsibility becomes a very slippery slope.
    My second response is to question the number of people in our nation who are descended from slaves. Depending on the study and the data used to create it, descendants of slaves make up between 15% and 90% of today’s black population in the US. The breadth of that number alone is proof that there is really no accurate way in which to determine how many folks are actually descendants of slaves in the overwhelming majority of cases. If we take reparations as an absolute, something that must happen, who will receive them? Would not a descendant of a slave be more entitled to them than someone who’s family came here post-slavery? And how to determine who is or is not a descendant of a slave? Records of a slave’s family lineage were shoddy at best, and after abolition many freed slaves could not read or write and therefor had no way to record their history or that of their children. So, is proof of being a descendant necessary for a claim, or is the color of one’s skin the only criteria?
    Finally, how black does one have to be to get reparations? Must one be “pure” or is anyone with the proverbial drop of African blood eligible? Can the fellow who looks lily white but can show a black ancestor 15 generations back claim reparations? Or the gentleman who is the color of coal and yet has a white ancestor?
    The arguments for reparations are compelling on their face, and yet fall short when the actual details are scrutinized. They seem fair and just when bandied about at a rally or a social gathering, and who with even the stingiest of hearts could deny this? And yet, when one asks the real questions that would cement the actual practice of reparations it takes only a moment to realize that calling reparations a fair and equitable solution to the wretched era that was slavery is in fact no more fair and equitable than was slavery itself.

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    1. Robert,
      I appreciate the seriousness of your arguments. However, remember that my argument for reparations is not solely based on the considerable damage of slavery. If you remember, in the post I argue that there are much more recent oppressions that argue for reparations. I would argue our society simply replaced slavery with another institutionalized system of racist oppression that, while seriously challenged in the 60s and 70s, has not completely been dismantled today. If we were simply talking about an injury 200 hundreds years ago, perhaps your objections would merit consideration. Unfortunately, that is not the only injuries we need to address.

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  32. Dmitry Tkach Call it “reparations” or “donations”, or, even, “scholarships” – that doesn’t matter.

    what it is called very much does matter. Think of the psychology. This is not a donation or a scholarship, nor should it be thought of as such. it is paying back what was withheld, Or it is a fine for wrongdoing, or repaying a debt. Lets not try to glide around, by changing the word.

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    1. The thing is, it is NOT “paying back what was withheld”, not by a long shot. Not for me anyway.
      I am not responsible for what my ancestors did (they are all from Eastern Europe, and have nothing to do with any of this, but even if they did), and I am definitely not responsible for what some members of my “race” did. I am my own person, and I am responsible for my own action, and, perhaps, to a lesser extent, for the actions for my kids and my pets. This is it.
      Just because someone, same color as me did something bad, does not make me responsible for it. I haven’t done anything wrong, and I owe NOTHING to the black, native Americans or to anyone else for that matter (except for my mortgage lender).

      Now, if I see that someone is being (or have been) treated unfairly in some way, and I can help correct it in some way, I will. That’s not reparations though, that’s compassion.

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      1. Dmitry, I’m glad you’d respond compassionately if you saw someone mistreated. But what if you found out someone was mistreated yesterday? Would you still care? I assume you would. Or how about last week? Last year? When does your compassion end? And, remember, I am not suggesting specific white people make reparations, though some may need to. I am suggesting a nation dominated by white people pay reparations. You are responsible for the actions of a nation that prides itself as being of the people and by the people.

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      2. James, it does not matter, yesterday, today or tomorrow. Doesn’t even matter if the person has been mistreated really. If I am better of then you are, because of some sort of injustice or even a sheer luck, and I can help, I will help. You don’t have to shame me into it.

        I understand, that you are “not suggesting that specific people make reparations, but a nation …”
        And that is exactly my problem with it. I was born and raised in a country, where lots of things were done in the name of a “nation”, and NOTHING GOOD has have come out it.

        And NO, I am NOT responsible for the actions of a nation. Nations are not capable of taking actions (or paying/being responsible for them), people are. Whenever you say “nation …”, what you really mean is “somebody else …”

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      1. Hey Dimitry,
        Please just REREAD James post… you’re saying EXACTLY EVERYTHING hes saying white ppl say who are racist. LOL.
        And actually, if you were to continue reading the replies to your comments (actually to comprehend and not just to reply), you’d get the hint that James is busy and you’re not the only one he has to/needs to talk to.
        You’re doing too much.

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  33. For the sake of argument, I will pretend that I paid my fair share of white reparation to black Americans (though I would not because this goes against all my beliefs about personal responsibility…). So James, my question to you is: What do I get for my money?…. because I expect something in return. In this scenario black America has been handsomely paid. Paid at a level that met all their demands. So, what will I, and other whites, get in return? Will there become a massive, ground trembling shift in black culture? Will my money buy me lower black murder rates, lower single motherhood rates, lower high school dropout rates, and less thug life? Black America represents 13% of the U.S. population, yet this population commits 50% of American murders. The national high school dropout rate for black males is currently 40%. In Detroit, the rate is 80%.
    In 1955, the single motherhood rate in black America was 20%. Today, it exceeds 70%. Even, liberal CNN’s Don Lemon says more than 72% of African American births are out of wedlock. 1955 was the beginning of the Civil Rights movement. Since then, a more than threefold increase in single motherhood has occurred in the black community?, Was it racism or was it something else within black culture that caused this single mom rate to rise? Did out of nowhere some random white guy force two black people to have sex, make a baby and not allow them to get married? Is America more racist today, then at the start of the Civil Rights movement? A question to a liberal; Has white America made any positive race relation advancements over the last 60 years? It would be so refreshing to hear Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, or the liberal media discuss personal responsibility in the black community, instead of always searching for a scapegoat. But I won’t hold my breath…. I just recently read an article by a feminist entitled; “4 Common Lies You Should Stop Believing About Black Single Mothers Right Now”. It was comical to read the things that a feminist will embrace. Sad. The bottom line is: All the reparation money in the world will not fix black Americas problems until black American men begin to make a change. Black male leaders must begin discussing personal responsibility and the men must begin acting out their parts to improve their community. Results: more marriages, more income, more disciplined children, more kids graduating, less gangs, less murders, lower incarceration rates, improved lifes, and improved communities.
    The most ironic thing that liberals don’t understand is that in their valiant, yet futile, efforts to help black people, they are the ones holding back black Americans. Liberals keep making excuses for them and holding their hand, and blaming white people for all their whoas, but you all really know that deep down your ways haven’t worked…Hint, try pushing personal responsibility…

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    1. You bring up some disturbing statistics, but fail to discuss the bigger picture. Yes, black children are being born out of wedlock more often. So are white children, though not at such an alarming rate. Additionally, millennials are having children outside of marriage at 64% percent level. Clearly, marriage is not valued as it once was with all demographics. However, targeting black men for censure seems especially unfair, when they face three to four times the levels of unemployment, lower pay when employed, and – as you point out – federal programs that have actually penalized intact families. This link to a Chicago Tribune editorial highlights the injustice of such judgments. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chapman/ct-whites-blacks-families-moynihan-report-perspec-0226-jm-20150225-column.html

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      1. As a white child growing up in the 60’s and living in a low income mixed neighborhood, I was the minority. I was harassed, beaten, bullied until I learned to fight back. My father taught us that we could not treat anyone different because of their color. We were taught to respect that our cultures, religion and beliefs were different and needed to be respected, but that we all bled red. It was my Dad’s best friends wife that took over for my Mother when she became ill and couldn’t take care of us kids, she was black and we loved her just the same as one of our biological Aunts. One of the things I remember is her telling her boys “ don’t give me no hog wash about it not being your fault cuz your black when you get in trouble, your mouth did it for you and your Daddy got a black belt he’s going to whip your black ass with”. Not one of her 11 remaining kids agree with your opinion that they should be paid because of slavery. They say that they were given every opportunity to make a good living and raise good families, that they were taught responsibility at a young age and Mama made them what they are today. Each one of them has done well for themselves. They are strong black men and women and I am proud to call them family 50 years later. We witnessed the riots , the black Panthers and many more historical moments together. She could tell you who was going to prison, who was going to get pregnant and more oft then not , she was right. You say we all have white privelage, I say we don’t! Privelage was for the rich folks, us poor ones didn’t have any more chance than any of my black friends. We all had to work to support the family and we all had to wait to go to college. That’s how it was in our area. I had to wait till I was 28, but I did it ! None of my black friends except a very few that went to prison and their women think that reparation should be paid. They think that people need to take more pride in themselves and stop feeling sorry for themselves. They all agree, as I do that thier is white privelage, but do not agree that it applies to all whites. Economic class has a big difference in a persons expectations and the way they grew up. We expected to have to work for what we got and college wasn’t one of those important priorities at the time. My children are taught what your teaching and I am insulted that they think just because they’re taught it in college it’s true. We have many political debates in our house and my black friends think their being brainwashed in school along with their kids. We feel that you are creating racism in our country and that these kids are preaching to the choir. I never in my life thought I would be insulted and hurt by my kids, but I am. My friends agree that they are wrong and I have every right to feel this way. My children are mixed, Mexican American and relate to being of color. They take offense at everything. What used to be fun to my friends of color and I is now considered a insult to them. You have taken what was innocent to us and made it something to fight and be offended over. We have a higher percentage of drug abuse and suicides in the 13 to 25 age bracket because they can’t handle life. They think that everything that came before them was wrong and that you are all right. I call it as it is.. if you didn’t live through it you have no idea what the hell you are talking about. Yes their were injustices, we witnessed them together. We didn’t hold it against each other if a group was black haters or another was white haters, we protected each other. Your teaching racism as strong as it was in the early 60’s, the only difference is.. is that we were taught to band together and draw on each other’s strengths. Kids now days don’t have any strengths because they’re too busy blaming everyone else or saying it’s white privilege! My kids don’t even speak to their Grandfather because he doesn’t agree with them. He’s had the same best friend since 1962 who happens to be a black man. You can’t change history because it suits you. Everyone was not given the same privileges because of thier color. History is history and my family is proud of ours even if we were poor white folk!

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      2. First, the idea that only black people who have gone to prison are interested in reparations is just racist. Many successful black people see the justice of reparations. Do all blacks? Of course not. But I suspect even your black friends wouldn’t agree that your challenges in life and their challenges were exactly the same. While I applaud your deep friendships with black people, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a racial bias. Maybe this is what your children are trying to help you see. I’m saddened that you see them (and me) as the problem. I encourage you to sit down with your children and really listen to them. Trust that you raised good kids who are trying, like you once did, to create a better world.

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  34. For some time now I’ve felt that what is needed to start some sort of healing process, would be an official government apology to the indigenous people for committing genocide against them, and for continuing a more muted genocide that continues to this day. Then the same should be done in the memory of the slaves, and more currently, an admission of all of the systemic racism that continues to this day that affects so many peoples. Then we can start looking at reparations for all kinds of situations, such as the theft of culture in the name of capitalism (I admit, I did get a laugh out of that White Family in the TV ad for those Onsie outfits, raising the roof), the continued oppression (wage slavery and what-not), refusal of service, the list goes on and on. Of course though, the ruling elite are worried that if there were official apologies, then they would be opening themselves to financial reparation lawsuits. Lord knows they wouldn’t want to be giving up money to people not in their club. [I hope this all makes sense]

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    1. You might be able to make such an argument if only blacks had received welfare checks. However, many more whites are on welfare than blacks. This makes it difficult to argue that welfare qualifies as a program to target and assist black people economically.

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